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My Top 8 Tips to Staging Your Home

There are several key ways to successfully stage a home to create mass appeal to maximize its sale price. Some tips that I recommend you address above anything else are:

1. Reframe Your Mindset...

It's tough for most people to wrap their head around the fact that they need to spend time and money on their house when they don't plan on staying there for much longer. While it seems crazy, you need to reframe your way of thinking and instead think of it as INVESTING in your house because it will most likely help you to sell for more money than if you don't, and in at least half the time. You will invevitably spend less money on any necessary cosmetic upgrades and home staging than you will on your first price reduction, not to mention your monthly carrying costs! You WILL succeed if you invest in your largest investment by the way of effective home staging!

2. Step up the Curb Appeal...

First impression is everything! It is a well documented fact that homes with excellent curb appeal sell considerably faster, and for more money than homes lacking curb appeal. Typically 50% of home buyers make their decision within seconds of pulling up in front of a house, long before they step inside the front door, whether or not they're going to buy your house. Attention to architectural details, good color combinations, and a well designed landscape are all important factors in good curb appeal. At the very least, prune the surrounding vegetation in the summer months so that your house isn't hiding behind it and plant some colourful flowers in either the ground and/or in pots. Flank seasonal foliage in pots on each side of the front door. Ensure that toys, bicycles, garbage and recycling cans are removed from view. In the winter months, ensure walkways are always shovelled and de-iced. Scrub clean the front door and outside windows, and paint the door if it needs it. Polish or replace the mailbox and house numbers and place an attractive Welcome mat at the door.

3. De-clutter and De-personalize...

This section goes hand-in-hand with having to change your mindset about selling. Remember that you're selling your HOUSE, not your home. Buyers feel like they're invading the seller's privacy when they tour a home that's filled with the seller's clutter and personal momentos such as family photos, awards, toys, travel knick-knacks, religious and political symbols, etc. Buyers will focus on the these items rather than all of the great selling features of your house hidden behind all of that stuff! By packing away as many of your personal items as you can and replacing them with "neutral" accessories, in addition to keeping your house in a constant state of neat and tidy for the duration of the selling process, you will most definitely reap the rewards.

4. Repair and Clean Clean CLEAN...

We tend to overlook the areas of our home that are in need of repair because we get so used to seeing them every day and then eventually don't even notice it anymore, such as a heavily scratched floor, pet stained carpet, a torn window screen, etc. However, the buyers will notice those items right away and will factor the needed repairs into their offer price. Inevitably, their estimated costs of repairs will be 3 or 4x the actual costs it will take you to get it fixed, so just get it done in the first place so that they don't have the upper hand during the negotiations! Once the repairs are completed, hire a professional cleaning crew to come in to thoroughly clean EVERYTHING so that it's spotless, including the windows. It's amazing how much light floods the room when the windows are sparkling clean! After your house is staged and you have your first Open House, you'll need to maintain the momentum of keeping your home as clean as possible. The extra daily chore will be worth it, and you shouldn't have to do it for very long since your house will inevitably sell quickly!

5. Freshen & Brighten...

New paint is the cheapest way to freshen and brighten a room. Be sure to choose a lighter, relatively neutral tone to help enhance your home's best features. Your awesome red walled dining room and soothing lilac purple bedroom may appeal to your fabulous sense of style, but it may turn off many buyers because it won't work with their furnishings and decor. By providing freshly painted neutral walls, it will appeal to most buyers and compliment their decor until they decide whether or not they'd like to re-paint to suit their taste and style sometime down the road. This is also a good time to freshen your dated light fixtures, fawcets, cabinet hardware, kitchen & bath counter tops and back splashes with something more contemporary. You don't need to spend a lot of money on high-end updates... it just has to look new.

​6. Remove Unnecessary Furniture...

When selling your home, you want it to appear as large as possible. ​There's a common belief that rooms will feel larger and be easier to use if all the furniture is pushed against the walls, but that isn't the case. Instead, furnish your space by floating furniture away from walls. Reposition sofas and chairs into cozy conversational groups, and place pieces so that the traffic flow in a room is obvious. Not only will this make the space more user-friendly, but it will open up the room and make it seem larger. Replace your large dining room table that seats 8 with a smaller dining table that seats 4. Buyers will see for themselves how spacious the room is and that they could even fit a larger table if they wanted to host a dinner party for eight. If you have a large sectional sofa in an average sized living room, store it elsewhere and replace with a rented or borrowed loveseat and one or two occasional chairs in a parallel grouping. It allows buyers to better see the room's spaciousness.

7. Place Focus on the Selling Features...

If your house has any architectural features that today's buyers are looking for, you'll want to place as much focus on them as possible! If you have a fireplace, place a conversation area around it and hang a piece of scale appropriate artwork or mirror above the mantle so that it's the focal point when you first enter the room. If you have hardwood floors underneath an older carpet, rip out the carpet and show them off as most buyers want hardwood floors! Be sure not to hide them underneath a large area rug if it isn't necessary - choose a smaller rug that's just large enough to anchor the conversation area. If your house doesn't have the architectural features that buyers are looking for, then you can have one or two added to help your house be in line with your competition, such as hardwood (or engineered) floors, crown molding, French doors, etc.

8. Spruce Up and Stage Outdoor Spaces...

Not only should you stage the inside of your home, but you should also stage your outdoors, both front and back, to emphasize ALL the living space that your property has to offer. Does your house have a front porch? Show off this selling feature and stage the space by placing a couple of wicker chairs with vibrant seat cushions and a small table with a pitcher of lemonade. Perhaps you have a large backyard with a concrete slab next to the house? Soften the concrete with an outdoor patio sofa set and weather-proof area rug, along with a BBQ and/or ornamental fire pit to demonstrate a fabulous outdoor entertaining space. Be sure to always keep the grass watered and trimmed, and plant colourful flowers in the ground and/or in pots. (You can always take the potted plants with you to your new home!)

Remember, you need to invest in your investment in order to make the most of it, in ANY real estate market. You only have one shot at making a first impression, so do it right the first time and you'll be rewarded with a quick sale and strong selling price!

Contact me today to provide you with a Home Staging Consultation!

Leanne Mackenzie

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